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Monday, November 10, 2008

Carmina Burana

I'm a random concertgoer at best. It's usually a matter of a friend with an extra ticket. So it was for last Friday's remarkable performance of Carl Orff's cantata, Carmina Burana. I wouldn't have the musical vocabulary to describe such a work - but the rave review (at the link) does it well. You can see the setup in the photo: three vocal soloists in front, facing the audience; behind them, the conductor and the NJ Symphony Orchestra, and in the rear, the chorus, consisting of the combined voices of the Moscow Conservatory Chorus and the Montclair State University Chorale. 266 performers in total. What an undertaking it must have been to coordinate this!

My friend and I were both fighting the sniffles. She went for a cup of chamomile tea at intermission; I sucked maniacally on Cold-Eeze. I was OK until I got home, but spent the next forty-eight hours flat on my back.

Back among the living now, still savoring the memories of that exhilarating experience.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dewey Defeats Truman

Yes, I was only eight, but we were Trib readers and I remember the headline, and my midwestern father's horror when the error was revealed (even though he had briefly, in his youth, been an FDR democrat). Nobody thought Truman could win. I think that's why nobody has dared to call this race in advance, even when it seemed impossible to be wrong.

I couldn't vote in the 1960 election (you had to be twenty-one then, and I had just turned twenty) but I remember watching the famous JFK-RMN debate on a rented dorm TV set (TV wasn't at all a part of college life then), and going to see Dick and Pat in a motorcade in downtown Boston. I remember staying up for most of the night to watch the returns (a different rented TV) and feeling disheartened and a little frightened when that young, untested senator had prevailed. What about Qemoy and Matsu? Even in that hotbed of liberalism I was still my father's daughter.

I've voted since 1964 (12 times for President -why does it seem like more?) and I'd have a hard time remembering which candidate I actually voted for in many of those elections. More than once it was for the third-party candidate, or even a "wasted" vote on the Libertarian. I always felt as if I were voting "against" someone, rather than "for" someone.

Yesterday was the first time I can actually remember casting a vote with strong conviction and the fervent hope that my candidate would win. It was a great feeling. And now that he has won, I can participate in the national euphoria - so like the one that followed the 1960 election.

As my ten-year-old granddaughter told her father, while being tucked in (way past her bedtime), "now I understand why you wanted us to stay up".